Apartment hunter: A Midwestern woman begins her search for a D.C. apartment


Our new Apartment Hunter blogger, Molly Hobbs

In Ohio, it is nearly impossible to get anywhere without driving and D.C. will be such a big change for me.  I am looking forward to riding the Metrorail every morning to work and not focusing on driving a car.  I am also looking forward to convenient access to the Smithsonian museums for free entertainment.

I have talked to many friends and UD alumni about living in D.C. and everyone has told me it is extremely expensive and to always check Craigslist.  I am very skeptical about Craigslist and still have not completely leveraged the site to it’s full potential. But I am okay with that.  My initial game plan for finding an apartment was to utilize Google maps and search for apartments in neighborhoods I thought might be nice.  That worked well, but required a lot of organization and cold calling.  However, just recently, my parents and I just traveled to D.C. to look for apartments. 

When I began my search, I was looking for studios or one bedroom apartments. But a week ago, I found a former summer co-worker who is also moving to D.C., and now we are looking for a two-bedroom apartment.  While nothing will turn me away from a good monthly rent price, I do have priorities that I would like to see in an apartment.  Most importantly, I would like close access to a Metro station, and ideally an apartment that is within a 30-minute commute to and from Anacostia.  I also would prefer a place with a washer and dryer located within the apartment and one that is dog friendly so I can bring along my lab mix puppy.  An updated kitchen, a friendly landlord, and close neighborhood activities are also at the top of my list. 

While searching the city with my parents, we visited about 10 apartments.  Some of the places I visited included Highland Park, Capital Park Plaza Apartments, the View at Waterfront, Park Meridian, Harbour Square Cooperative, Aventine at Fort Totten, the Buchanan and Camden Roosevelt.  While they were all very nice and included many of the same amenities, none of them fell into my price range, which is about $2,000 a month. Nor did they meet my top priorities.

I did have an appointment with Totten Tower, which is managed by Main Street Realty.  When I called to set up a tour, the building seemed to meet almost all of my needs over the phone.  The quoted monthly price for a two bedroom was $1,432 with utilities included and they allowed dogs. What a bargain, I thought!  I had all of my hopes up that this apartment would be ours. It was almost to good to be true.  And it was.  My appointment was at 11:30 a.m. on Friday morning.  I had my credit card and checkbook prepared to make the first month deposit if all things looked well.  Unfortunately, the property manager called at 9:30 a.m. that same morning and told me the apartment had just been rented and was no longer available. 

My heart was broken.   

I was extremely frustrated after looking all week at apartments that didn't meet my wants at an affordable price, and even more upset after seeing my future apartment taken away from me in less than two minutes. 

By the end of the trip, all the apartments began to look alike and my folks and I were totally exhausted.  While I feel like there are still apartments I can afford in the downtown area, I think it will take a ton of cold calling to find a place that is suitable to my budget and needs.

While I am back at square one in Ohio to search virtually, I have realized there are so many different places available that it almost makes the choice overwhelming.  I have also reconsidered my original decision to live within D.C. Maybe it would be worth my time and money to live outside the city in Virginia or Maryland. 

So many decisions, so little time.

 

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